Released: October 19th, 2010 (Last Tuesday, STOP SLEEPIN’!)
“Fly” a word that made it’s rounds during the early-mid ’90s. Nowadays, you don’t closely associate “Fly” with too many releases or even artists, for that matter. By the way, why don’t people use “Fly” as part of their everyday conversation anymore? “Yo, you peep the re-release of those Infrared Air Max ’90s? Damn son, those jawns are Fly! “Do you remember “Say No Go” from De La’s “3 Feet High & Rising”, damn, that sh*t was Fly! Well, have no fear, Von Pea will hopefully lead to “Fly’s” reemergence, because that is exactly what Pea’s debut solo outing is…FLY!!
The overall feel and vibe of P.G.H.I. is very old-school, unforced and genuine. The album’s concept is based upon Pea’s Senior Year in High School, while not the most original idea, on this album it works, quite nicely in fact. Straight out of the gate, Pea sets it off correctly with his lo-fi freestyle (a la Big’s demo tape-style), “Live At Low Key’s”. The album’s first actual track (“Breakfast At The Bodega” is just a semi-comical skit that follows the Intro cut), strangely enough, was the album’s first single, “The Yorker”, which also happens to be my least favorite jawn from the album. However, “The Yorker” doesn’t deter from the fluidity of the LP as tracks like the “Summertime” (Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: “Yeah I got on sneaks but I need a new pair) sampled, ode to sneakerheads alike, “New Pair” and the boisterous Brizzo-produced, “Pep Rally” quickly rose to the top of my favorite tracks from 2010 list just after a few listens.
What I found to be most unique about the LP is it’s features, that on paper, don’t necessarily look obvious, but they work masterfullys. For example, take R & B crooner, Keisha Shontelle, who’s lush vocals we’ve become accustomed to hearing on numerous underground releases over the last decade or so, spits a quick sixteen on “I Know We’re Right”, while Kooley High’s emcee delight, Rapsody nearly steals the show with her contributions to the aforementioned, “New Pair”. Also, you find the man with one of the best album’s to never be released, Danny!, attempting to forge Von Pea’s report card on the clever, “Open School”.
Don’t get it twisted, even if Von Pea is best known as the most identifiable member of Tanya Morgan, “P.G.H.I.” is a total solo outing. As I was telling Trav earlier today, I love Tanya Morgan, but this album doesn’t remind me of anything that has come outta’ the T.M. camp. The LP is 100 percent original and funky, even if the album’s first single didn’t get me in a rush to scoop this album up immediately, after enjoying “P.G.H.I.” for much of my “East Coast” venture back to PA this past week, I’m not afraid to admit that Von Pea has released one of the Top 10, maybe even Top 5 LPs of 2010. Although, the album was released abruptly (the initial release was set for the 12th of October, but even more drama ensued when it was pushed back to the 19th), you should most definitely add “P.G.H.I.” to your “shopping cart” that should also include Celph Titled & Buckwild’s “Nineteen Ninety Now” and The Left’s “Gas Mask”! I’m tellin’ ya’ll that’s one helluva’ triumvirate to bump in your headphones for the remainder of 2010 and beyond…